Friday, January 7, 2011

THE MacBETH REPORT: F Ivan Dornic (Portland, 2003-05) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Rodovre (Denmark AL-Bank Ligaen). He started the season with Detva (Slovakia 1.Liga) and had one goal in two games. Dornic then signed with Königsborner JEC Unna (Germany Oberliga), where he had 14 goals and 11 assists in 24 games. . . .
D Tomas Slovak (Kelowna, 2001-03) signed a contract for the rest of this season with Chomutov (Czech Republic 1.Liga). He had three assists in 21 games with Avtomobilist Ekaterinburg prior to his release last month. The contract has an option for next season should Chomutov win promotion to Extraliga; Slovak can exercise an out-clause if he gets an offer from the NHL or the KHL.
These are tough times for many players in the WHL because the trade deadline is the elephant in every team’s dressing room.
Every single player is aware that the trade deadline is on its way. (It arrives Monday at 3 p.m. Calgary time.)
This is when the really ugly side of major junior hockey rears its head. This is when teenage boys are forced to relocate at a moment’s notice.
But they and their parents know that going in; they know that it’s a business and just because you’re here today doesn’t mean you won’t be gone tomorrow.
Why do they play the games in this league? They play to win the games and, ultimately, to win the Memorial Cup.
So there are a whole bunch of general managers out there who are trying to figure out what to do. Teams don’t budget for playoff revenue, which means the money that comes in during a good run can be considered gravy.
So, for example, what do you do if you’re Kelly McCrimmon, the owner, general manager and head coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings? One year ago, you were preparing to be the host team in the Memorial Cup. Today, you are 11th in the 12-team Eastern Conference and you are five points out of a playoff spot.
But you haven’t had Team Canada star Brayden Schenn in your lineup for any length of time. So do you keep him and hope that he and veteran Scott Glennie, 20, can provide a spark to get you over the hump?
Or do you unload some assets between now and Monday afternoon?
In the Western Conference, the bottom seven teams are separated by six points.
The Chilliwack Bruins are ninth in the 10-team conference, two points out of eighth and six points out of the B.C. Division lead, a spot that carries with it the No. 2 seed in the conference when the playoffs open.
So how does Marc Habscheid, the Bruins’ general manager and head coach, approach the deadline?
He admits that it’s tough right now because his roster was missing nine players when the Bruins lost 6-2 to the visiting Vancouver Giants on Sunday.
“That’s just it,” Habscheid said Thursday. “You have to kind of measure it. With the injuries . . . when they’re coming back, if they’re coming back, how will they be when they come back? Those are moving targets so it doesn’t make it any easier, that’s for sure.”
As for being felt in in the dressing room, Habscheid says the deadline “has effect, without question.”
So when you’re watching WHL games over the weekend, keep that in the back of your mind. Don’t forget that you’re watching teenagers who may have a little more on their minds than usual.
On the subject of Brayden Schenn, the Los Angeles Kings’ draft choice is at home in Saskatoon and is expected to rejoin the Wheat Kings next week. He told John MacNeil of the Brandon Sun that he is trying to come to grips with being on the losing side in two World Junior Championship finals and a Memorial Cup final in the past year. As TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported during the final game, Schenn finished the tournament with a partially separated right shoulder. “It’s probably a 10- to 14-day injury,” he told MacNeil. “We’ll have it re-evaluated (today) and we’ll take it from there. It’s a tough injury to have, but it’s kind of an easy injury to play through, just because you have your teammates behind you and the nation behind you. For me, obviously, it was pretty painful, but knowing that you have those people supporting you, you’ve just got to play for them.” . . . As for the approaching trade deadline, Schenn said he is taking a wait-and-see approach and “whatever happens, happens.” . . . Right now he is more concerned with healing mentally and physically. . . . The Saskatoon Blades, meanwhile, have expressed interest. GM/head coach Lorne Molleken told the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: “There’s a number of players out there for trade and we’re going to explore all options. If we can land a player like Brayden Schenn, it would sure benefit our team and our organization.”
JUST NOTES: F J.D. Watt, who was cut loose by the Calgary Flames on Wednesday, has signed with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage. The Rampage is affiliated with the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes. . . . The Vancouver Giants hope to have 6-foot-4, 205-pound Slovakian F Andrej Stastny in their lineup tonight when they open a doubleheader in Prince George against the Cougars. He joined the Giants on Thursday after the World Junior Championship but the paperwork isn’t complete so he wasn’t able to practise. Elliott Pap of the Vancouver Sun also reports that D David Musil (ankle) and F Greg Lamoureux (shoulder) should play tonight. . . . As well, D Tanner Sohn, 18, is at home in Medicine Hat awaiting a trade. The Giants acquired him in October from the Medicine Hat Tigers for a sixth-round pick in the 2012 bantam draft. . . . If you are interested in the broadcast schedule for Saturday’s outdoor game in Spokane, check the WHL’s website. . . . Looking for something to read on L'Affaire Drinnan, as one wiseacre somewhere on the Internet billed it, you may want to check out Kamloops This Week's website right here. There are two stories there, one headlined Drinnan ban: WHL unaware?; the other headlined The WHL Was Aware Of Blazers' Decision To Place Limitations on Drinnan. . . . Take your pick.
F Reid Jorgensen (Kamloops, 2002-06) is one of the finest young men I have had the privilege of writing about during a lengthy career of covering the WHL and some of its teams. It’s great to see that he is scoring for the U of Calgary Dinosaurs and that, judging by his quotes, he continues to be the consummate team player. Wes Gilbertson of the Calgary Sun has more right here. . . . The Dinos also have added F Walker Wintoneak (Saskatoon, 2005-10), who had been with the Central league’s Missouri Mavericks.
Jarrett Toll spent five seasons patrolling the back end for the Tri-City Amrericans, while dabbling in lacrosse on the side. Now that he has graduated from the WHL, he continues to play both sports while attending university. Gerry Moddejonge of the Edmonton Sun has that story right here.
If you’re wondering what Glen Erickson, who writes for Hockey’s Future, came up with after Team Russia beat Team Canada on Wednesday in Buffalo, you may check it out right here.
Noticed on the blog of Brandon Wheat Kings play-by-play voice Bruce Luebke that Tuesday was a sad day for that team and its fans.
“Long-time Wheat Kings' season-ticket holder Paul (Pops) Solon Sr. passed away on Tuesday,” Luebke writes. “Solon, 86, had been a season-ticket holder with the Wheat Kings since the 1948-49 season.”
Not many WHL fans can boast of that.
Yes, he was a regular when I covered the Wheat Kings from 1978-83.
Condolences to the Solon family.
In Kelowna, the Moose Jaw Warriors made it five victories in six road games as they beat the Rockets, 4-2. . . . The Warriors opened this swing with a victory in Calgary, then went 4-1 against B.C. Division teams, the only loss a 5-2 setback in Prince George. . . . The Warriors wrap up the trip on Friday in Cranbrook against the Kootenay Ice. . . . Last night, the Warriors erased a 1-0 deficit with four second-period goals. . . . F Joey Kornelsen, who is from Abbotsford, B.C., has nine points, including five goals, on the trip. He scored Moose Jaw’s first goal in this one. . . . Moose Jaw F Spencer Edwards got his side’s fourth goal, his 18th, and it was shorthanded. . . . F Geordie Wudrick got his 20th of the season to open the scoring for the Rockets. . . . Kelowna F Brett Bulmer tied it 2-2 with his 14th at 12:36 of the second, but Moose Jaw F Matt Grant got his fourth just 31 seconds later. . . .
In Swift Current, F Adam Lowry scored three times to lead the Broncos to a 3-2 victory over the Calgary Hitmen. . . . Lowry, who has 13 goals, scored his first career hat trick in his 99th regular-season game. . . . The Hitmen led the game 1-0 in the first period, but Lowry got the game’s next three goals. . . . Calgary F Justin Kirsch scored his team-leading 19th goal. . . .
Two minors:
Calgary F Jimmy Bubnick
Calgary D Matt MacKenzie
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